Fostering for Adoption

Fostering for Adoption (sometimes referred to as early permanence) involves placing children with potential adopters who are also approved as temporary foster carers while decisions are made about the child’s future within the family court process.  

What are the roles and responsibilities of a Foster for Adoption carer? 

Foster for Adoption carers provide early permanence for babies and young children where the prognosis for rehabilitation to the birth family is poor and assessments completed prior to a baby’s birth or early in a baby’s life suggest that adoption is the most realistic long term permanence option. 

In each case, it is carefully considered by all professionals involved (the child’s team) whether the child should be placed in a traditional adoption or Foster for Adoption placement. 

As well as ensuring excellent day to day care of the child, Foster for Adoption carers work with professionals in supporting the child’s birth family to maintain contact with their child. 

While the court makes decisions about the child’s future, Foster for Adoption carers must be willing to invest in the short and long term needs of the child with an understanding that if the child cannot return home, they will adopt them.  

Becoming a Foster for Adoption carer is not suitable for all prospective adopters; you will need to be emotionally resilient, flexible and able to manage uncertainties. 

Talking Adoption show

Hear adopter Lillian talk about her experience of fostering for adoption and learn more about the process from the PACT team.

To see more videos in our Talking Adoption series, click below.

View the Talking Adoption show on YouTube

Read some of our case studies about parents who adopted through the Foster for Adoption process

Advantages for the child 

  • A child benefits from stability and continuity of care from the earliest possible stage in their lives with fewer major changes to cope with (see Solihull Approach particularly in relation to early trauma)
  • It allows for early attachment needs to be met and early bonding to begin, avoiding the damage of terminating a child’s relationship with birth parents, then foster carers before going on to be placed for adoption 
  • Potentially it allows for a permanent home to be found for a child as early as possible, with research showing that risks of developmental and behavioural difficulties lessen the earlier a child is placed with permanent carers 

Advantages for you 

  • You may get a very young baby placed with you, potentially straight from hospital, although these children can come with complex needs which we might not know about when they are placed with you 
  • You get to know a child sooner and if you do go on to adopt them, will be able to share those earliest memories with them 
  • You will have a better understanding of a child’s birth family and history, being able to talk more meaningfully to a child about their birth family when they get older 

Things to consider 

  • There are lots of uncertainties with a Foster for Adoption placement, can you deal with these? 
  • A child may be returned to their birth parents or another member of the birth family if the court decides this is best for the child. How will you cope if this happens? 
  • Can you manage the role of a foster carer, which includes attending regular meetings and facilitating contact with birth family? 

What support will Foster for Adoption carers receive? 

PACT has a dedicated team of experienced social workers ready to help guide applicants through the Fostering for Adoption process. You will also be linked up with experienced adopters for advice and support. We also provide a range of training opportunities, and access to our specialist post-adoption therapeutic support service, FACTS.  

The placing local authority will pay you a fostering allowance while the child is placed under fostering regulations. You may be entitled to adoption allowance, although this is a means tested allowance. 

The government made changes to adoption leave and pay in April 2015, recognising Foster for Adoption in these changes and allowing Foster for Adoption carers to take adoption leave and pay (if entitled) from the point a child is placed with them.  

Find out more

If you are considering Foster for Adoption or have any questions about our services please contact us or telephone PACT’s dedicated enquiries officers on 0300 456 4800. 

Lines are open 10am-5pm on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, 10am-8pm on Tuesday and Thursday, and 10am-1pm on Saturday.